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Theo Epstein Sick Over Kyle Schwarber's Injury, But Cubs Planned For Such A 'Bad Dream'

(CBS) Remember all the offseason trade speculation regarding Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler after the team's big offseason of signings?

There were were good reasons president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and his front office were measured in their approach and wanted to hang onto a 24-year-old who's been inconsistent but is still budding with talent.

That reason surfaced last Friday when it was announced that starting left fielder Kyle Schwarber will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL and LCL tear in his left knee following a nasty collision with teammate Dexter Fowler. While Epstein never imagined such a devastating injury could come so soon, he and the Cubs had long planned to add "redundant" pieces to insure for instances like this, and their offseason plan reflected that. The Cubs added Jason Heyward on the largest contract in team history and then held onto Soler and fellow youngster Javier Baez, worrying not of the impending outfield jam.

The Cubs expected the "constant" of injuries, knowing it wasn't a "variable," Epstein said.

"It's just an approach to team building and roster construction," Epstein said on Monday on the Boers and Bernstein Show ahead of the Cubs' home opener against the Reds in the evening. "I think you have to have a lot of talent for you to get to the point where you can start to consider that, and obviously for a few years there, we were just in young-talent-acquisition mode. We weren't at the point yet where we could have talented players at every position, let alone start to build up that kind of depth and redundancy. As we turned the page and got into the mode where we're clearly competing at a high level, then you take a completely different approach to team building, and I had some experience with this from my years in Boston. You basically try to envision a championship club, how your club can compete for and win a World Series and then work your way backwards trying to predict for anything that could go wrong, whether it's an injury at any one position or a series of injuries or a combination of injuries and bad performance. You just look at building the roster as a challenge with the goal being to create as much depth and as much redundancy as you can so that almost no matter what goes wrong, you're covered.

"You can never get to that point. There are always going to be things that can come up that you can't prepare for."

Four days after Schwarber's gruesome injury, Epstein's still sick to his stomach at times.

"This was very hurtful, a worst-case scenario," Epstein said. "And we're all hurting for Kyle, even though we know he's going to dominate the rehab and come back strong. And we're hurting for the club, because we've lost a little bit of our identity, a little bit of our soul with him not here. But I think we're talented enough, deep enough and redundant enough that we can withstand it."

Epstein called Schwarber's injury a "bad dream" that turned to reality.

"It's because of who Kyle is," Epstein said. "We fell in love with him throughout the draft process the year before the draft.

"He's extremely genuine, extremely down to earth, truly prioritizes the welfare of the team over his individual interests. He's fun to be around ... He looks like you could run into him and the corner bar and you could relate to him."

Listen to Epstein's full interview below.

Theo Epstein on the Boers & Bernstein Show

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